Simply Perfect Beef Roast is just like Grandma used to make! This classic comfort food is only 3 ingredients, slow braised in the oven all day and deliciously tender! Simple enough for a weeknight meal yet fancy enough for a special occasion, you’ll want to come back to this recipe again and again!
Simply Perfect Ingredients
Over the years I have adapted my fancier Rich Molasses Braised Beef Roast Recipe to be quite elaborate. No doubt, it’s incredibly delicious, sweet and savory with quite a long ingredient list. But, recently with the cold weather, probably pressed for time and convenience, I went back to the original recipe my mom sent me to college with. I’ve retitled it Simply Perfect Beef Roast because it is just that, simple and perfect. Only 3 ingredients….1 beef roast, 1 onion, and 1 quart beef stock. Mom called them “hot beefs” and served them on little white buns. I forgot how good the simple version is!
Beef Roast is made by braising the meat in a dutch oven (a large pot with a tight fitting lid will work), which means searing it first and then cooking it in liquid (beef stock) in the oven at a low temperature for a long period of time. The long slow cooking develops the flavor and breaks down the meat to be melt in your mouth tender! Braising is used to make an inexpensive, tough cut of meat tender. You would not braise a tenderloin, for example, since cows don’t do sit ups, the tenderloin muscle is not used much and so is naturally tender, perfect for steaks. The cow’s shoulders and leg muscles however, are heavily used, making the meat tough and perfect for braising. A crock pot will work the same way, but searing the meat before adding it to the crockpot will give you better flavor. I like to use a 2.5 to 3 pound chuck roast for this recipe which usually costs between 10 and 15 dollars, but any similarly sized and priced cut will work. Pick what looks the best!
Just Like Grandma Used to Make
After 8 hours in my oven, the smell took me right back to the little kitchen booth at my Grandma’s house that we all preferred to cram around, instead of the big dining room table. In my memory, every time we ate dinner at Grandma’s, we had beef roast and mashed potatoes. As a kid I didn’t know how lucky I was! I was probably hoping for pizza or something. I loved that little kitchen booth, padded pink vinyl under floral wallpaper, endless games of Gin Rummy, Double Solitaire, Parcheesi, Chinese Checkers, and Monopoly with my cousins and Grandma, while Grandpa had a martini and got 90% of the Jeopardy! clues right.
- Beef Roast – I usually find a 2.5 to 3 pound chuck roast, but take a look at what seems like the best quality at your store. Meat should be bright red, not browning or multicolored. A marbling of fat is a good thing, it makes your roast tender. When it’s finished cooking you can discard any fatty pieces with tongs. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper, the simplest of seasonings. Then coat it in flour, which forms a crusty layer on the meat when it is seared and also helps thicken the stock into a sauce. This will serve about 8 people or give you great leftovers.
- Onion – A yellow or white onion roughly chopped.
- Beef Stock – Braising a beef roast means to cook it in the oven in a liquid. The beef stock allows a tough cut of meat to slow cook until tender, leaving it in a rich sauce. Use one quart (one box) for this recipe.
How to Cook A Roast in the Oven – Instructions
Step 1 – Preheat your oven and a large pot on the stove with olive oil. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper and then coat it in flour. You may want to pre measure these and have them in a bowl so your hands aren’t touching the raw meat and the pepper grinder!
Step 2 – Sear the beef in the hot pot. Let it really get a good dark brown color, don’t move it around in the pot, just let it sear! You can pull up the edge with tongs to decide if it’s ready to flip.
Step 3 – Flip the beef to sear on the other side, add the onions around the meat to begin cooking.
Step 4 – Add the stock, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven for 7 to 8 hours. You can take the roast out and flip it once or twice during the day. As you reach the last 1 to 2 hours, check on the roast. If you still have plenty of liquid, you can remove the cover so the sauce can reduce a bit. At 7 or 8 hours the meat should be tender and you can shred it with tongs.
At this point you can time the roast to be ready when you are. If it seems done, just cover it and turn the oven off but let it sit in the oven until you are ready to serve. If it needs more cooking time, leave the cover off and let it continue cooking. The exact cooking time can vary depending on your oven and the size of the roast.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and simple vegetables
- Serve over grilled or toasted bread
- Serve as sandwiches on soft white buns
- Serve on big hoagie buns or paninis with melted white cheddar or provolone
- Simply Perfect Beef Roast is perfect as a weeknight meal with lots of great leftovers, and it’s elegant enough for a holiday! For a smaller gathering you could serve it for Christmas or New Years with lots of red wine, mashed potatoes and a few side dishes and a perfect appetizer like my Cranberry Honey Baked Brie or Raisin Pine Nut Goat Cheese Dip!
Got Beef Roast Leftovers?
The simple flavors of this basic beef roast allow for great possibilities in leftovers. My favorite way to use leftover pot roast is Ragu Pasta Bake, a hearty tomato sauce with some of the shredded beef, tossed with pasta and baked in a casserole with lots of melty cheese! I’ve also used the beef as a taco filling. Top it with pico de gallo salsa and shredded cabbage on charred tortillas with Mexican crumbled queso fresco and guacamole. Before reheating roast beef, you can use a spoon to scrap the white fat layer that rises to the top after it has been refrigerated. Beef Roast freezes well, so you can also save it for another beef roast night, on sandwiches, buns or paninis. Just thaw overnight and warm on the stovetop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Dutch Oven go in the oven?
Yes, and it should! A dutch oven is a heavy pot made of cast iron often enameled, and with a tight fitting lid. It is the perfect tool to make this tender, braised, fall apart pot roast! A dutch oven is great because you can begin by searing the beef roast on the stove top to get lots of flavor, then add the braising liquid and transfer the whole pot to the oven where it can slow cook all day, giving you tender, melt in your mouth beef roast.
If you love slow braised pot roasts, try these other favorites!!
Did You Make This Recipe?
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Simply Perfect Beef Roast
- 3 lb beef roast (chuck roast or whatever looks like the best quality) (seasoned with 2t kosher salt, 15 grinds black pepper, and 2 T flour)
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 quart beef stock
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- On the stove top, preheat a large soup pot over medium heat and add about 2T olive oil.
- On a large plate or the brown paper packaging, season the roast on all sides with 2t salt and 15 grinds black pepper and then coat the roast in 2T flour.
- Add the beef to the hot pot, letting it sear on one side to a dark brown color, do not move it around in the pot
- When browned well, flip the beef with tongs to brown the other side and add onion to start sautéing around the beef.
- When the second side is browned and the onions soft, add the beef stock and stir.
- Transfer the entire pot to the oven, covered, and cook for about 6 to 8 hours (can vary by oven), stirring and flipping the roast once or twice during the day. (Note: make sure to check on the roast in the last 1 or 2 hours, if you still have plenty of liquid, remove the lid for the final hour to thicken the sauce, if you don't have enough liquid, add a bit of water so the roast doesn't burn).
- After 6 to 8 hours the meat will be extremely tender and can be shredded with tongs, while the liquid will have reduced leaving the beef in a dark sauce. Discard any large pieces of fat or gristle.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, over grilled bread, or on sandwich buns.
- As you reach the last 1 to 2 hours, check on the roast. If you still have plenty of liquid, you can remove the cover so the sauce can reduce a bit. At 7 or 8 hours the meat should be tender and you can shred it with tongs. At this point you can time the roast to be ready when you are. If it seems done, just cover it and turn the oven off but let it sit in the oven until you are ready to serve. If it needs more cooking time, leave the cover off and let it continue cooking. The exact cooking time can vary depending on your oven and the size of the roast.
- Remember this is a large cut of beef ,so season it generously with salt and pepper.
- Leftovers can be frozen, reheated for lunch, or used in Ragu Pasta Bake